Louis and Elizabeth Selzer Papers

MC 2365

Special Collections
University of Arkansas Libraries

365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: 479-575-8444
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Katrina Windon, 2019.

Finding aid is written in English.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Selzer, Louis, 1873-1955
Selzer, Elizabeth, 1880-1971
Louis and Elizabeth Selzer Papers
Inclusive Dates
circa 1890-1963
MC 2365
1 linear foot (2 boxes)
Materials are in English.
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Acquisition Information

The Louis and Elizabeth Selzer Papers were donated to the Special Collections Department by David Lee Campbell of Folsom, Louisiana, on February 15, 2019. The papers were originally found on Campbell's family's farm in Monticello, Arkansas.

Processing Information

Processed by Katrina Windon; completed in June 2019.

Preferred Form of Citation

Louis and Elizabeth Selzer Papers (MC 2365), Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

See Special Collections Citation Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.

Biographical Note

Louis William Selzer was born November 27, 1873, in Chicago, Illinois to Fannie Bell Mills and Frank Selzer. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Brun was born August 9, 1880, in Morris, Oklahoma. The couple married circa 1903. They had a long career with traveling circuses and carnivals; Louis Selzer performed as a high wire artist, and the couple jointly operated a shooting gallery and trained monkeys. The Selzers eventually settled in Monticello, Arkansas. Louis Selzer passed away September 20, 1955, and Elizabeth Selzer passed away in February 1971.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the personal papers, primarily photographs and correspondence, of Louis and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Selzer, a couple involved with traveling circuses and carnivals in the American South and Midwest.

Other materials include financial records and ephemera. Photographs are primarily of people, many of whom are not identified; other photographs document circus and carnival performers and scenes, including the Selzers' shooting gallery and trained monkeys.

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged by format. Photographs are further arranged by subject; when identifiable, photographs of the same event or individuals have been grouped together.

Subject Terms

The following persons, organizations, or topics are among those represented within the collection materials:



Animal trainers

Monticello (Ark.)

    Detailed Description of the Collection

    The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

    Box 1

    Box 1 Folder 1

    Elizabeth Selzer correspondence, incoming, 1910-1963

    Includes a photographic postcard with carnival or circus scene on recto, from Ethel Lorenzo; other correspondents include Selzer's niece, Anna, and her father, William Brun.

    Box 1 Folder 2

    Elizabeth Selzer correspondence, incoming, 1928-1959

    Two letters include enclosed photographs: a 1955 sympathy card from Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Hueline includes three photographs of a woman and a gravesite, possibly Louis Selzer's; a 1928 leter from Grace and Harry Dickinson includes a tintype portrait of a couple

    Box 1 Folder 3

    Elizabeth Selzer correspondence, outgoing, 1932, 1957, undated

    One letter, addressed to Norm Thompson, includes a 1950 photograph of a couple and their dog

    Box 1 Folder 4

    Elizabeth Selzer correspondence, empty envelopes, 1950-1963

    Box 1 Folder 5

    Travel itinerary, 1903

    List of travels between October-December 1903, primarily throughout the U.S. South; one entry notes "Lizzie was married in Augusta 11/4/03"

    Box 1 Folder 6

    Elizabeth Breene and Louis and Elizabeth Selzer life insurance receipt books, correspondence, and notes, circa 1928-1955

    Box 1 Folder 7

    Louis and Elizabeth Selzer correspondence, incoming, 1912-1955

    Letters and cards addressed jointly to Louis and Elizabeth Selzer

    Box 1 Folder 8

    Louis Selzer correspondence, incoming, circa 1912-1953

    Includes a postcard from Elizabeth to Louis Selzer, and a letter from Ross Engle on Bellmar Bros. Circus stationery

    Box 1 Folder 9

    Louis and Elizabeth Selzer income tax returns, 1943

    Box 1 Folder 10

    Louis Selzer Elk Lodge membership card (Americus, Georgia, Lodge No. 752), 1950

    Box 1 Folder 11

    Louis Selzer Billboard Bondbarment certificate from U.S. Treasury War Finance Committee, 1943

    Box 1 Folder 12

    Correspondence regarding Louis Selzer property in Michigan, 1957

    Box 1 Folder 13

    Correspondence fragments, undated

    Box 1 Folder 14

    Birth and death announcements, 1950-1951, undated

    Death announcements for Louis Selzer's brother Frank Selzer and sister Etta Symes; birth announcement for Linda Anne Symes

    Box 1 Folder 15

    Printed materials, 1956, undated

    Orval Faubus gubernatorial campaign advertisement, 1956; Lano-Chaney Puppet Theatre advertisement; "Formula for Silver Plating" typescript; William Penn Cabin photographic postcard; "Holy Heart of Christ" illustrated postcard

    Box 1 Folder 16

    Greeting cards, unused, circa 1945-1965

    Box 2 Folder 1 Item 1-12

    Photographs- Carnival or circus performers or employees, circa 1900-1950

    Includes group photograph of Wahlstrom's Band, St. Louis Entertainment Co., in front of the Jubilee Minstrels (Item 1); portrait of tattooed man identified as "Mr. Colman, Greater Susley Shows, 1916" (Item 2); photograph of Billy Dick[?] of Lee Bros Circus (Item 12); and photograph of "Slim of the Martin's merry go round" (Item 10).

    Box 2 Folder 2 Item 1-7

    Photographs- Carnival or circus scenes, circa 1900-1940

    Box 2 Folder 3 Item 1-19

    Photographs- Monkeys, circa 1930-1950

    Box 2 Folder 4 Item 1-2

    Photographs- Hoopla game, 1931

    On the recto, Item 2 is labeled as "Jun 16/31 Our 20 ft Hoopla. Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Our 7th year in the park here."

    Box 2 Folder 5 Item 1-6

    Photographs- Shooting galleries, circa 1910-1940

    On the verso, Item 3 is labeled as "Selzer's Arcade and Shooting Gallery. With St. Louis Amusement Co."

    Box 2 Folder 6 Item 1-7

    Photographs- High wire/tightrope acts, circa 1910-1940

    Box 2 Folder 7 Item 1-3

    Photographs- Buildings, 1910, undated

    Box 2 Folder 8 Item 1-2

    Photographs- Manhattan Athletic Club, circa 1890-1910

    Box 2 Folder 9 Item 1-4

    Photographs- People with station wagon, circa 1920-1950

    Box 2 Folder 10 Item 1-2

    Photographs- Goat and automobile, circa 1910-1940

    Box 2 Folder 11 Item 1-3

    Photographs- George and unidentified women in Arizona desert, circa 1920-1950

    Box 2 Folder 12 Item 1-2

    Photographs- Doris and Betty, 1931-1933

    Box 2 Folder 13 Item 1-9

    Photographs- Symes Family , 1945-1956, undated

    Primarily photographs of Linda and Nancy Symes; Harry and Marcia Symes are also pictured

    Box 2 Folder 14 Item 1-7

    Photographs- Mr. and Mrs. Conley and others, circa 1890-1940

    Box 2 Folder 15 Item 1-26

    Photographs- Home and dog of one of Elizabeth Selzer's nieces or nephews, 1956-1958, undated

    Box 2 Folder 16 Item 1-16

    Photographs- Daniel O. Hunt and others, 1927, undated

    Includes self-portrait of photographer Daniel O. Hunt of Seminole, Oklahoma, as well as others; several photographs have stamp of Hunt's Seminole Studio on recto. Others identified are Dr. Donnicker and Polly Graves.

    Box 2 Folder 17 Item 1-9

    Photographs- Children, circa 1920-1930

    Primarily photographs of a young girl also pictured in group photographs in Folder 16; includes photographs of the girl with monkeys and other animals, and with Daniel O. Hunt's automobile.

    Box 2 Folder 18 Item 1-4

    Photographs- Bud, David, Tommy, and Michael, 1956

    Box 2 Folder 19 Item 1-3

    Photographs- Kathleen and Willowdeen[?] Driskell and others, 1954-1957

    Box 2 Folder 20 Item 1-3

    Photographs- Sylvia, 1951, undated

    Box 2 Folder 21 Item 1-6

    Photographs- People and scenery in the Manistee Valley, 1930, 1956

    Those pictured are Frank Selzer (Item 1), Joey (Item 5), and Mary (Item 6).

    Box 2 Folder 22 Item 1-14

    Photographs- People, circa 1910-1955

    Those identified are Harry and Marcie (Item 1); Mrs. Bell [or Bill] Martin (Item 2); "Bill, Marci, Nancy, Harry, Roy, Betty, Moe, George, Doris" (Item 3); "Alvera, Billie baby & Grand Ma Mills Mrs. Mills" (Item 4); Mary Riff[?] (Item 5); "Little John Shusley" (Item 6); Margo, Nettie, Bill Sr., and Bill Jr. (Item 9); Jim[?], Jack, and Honey (Item 11); Leo (Item 12); Eleanor and Billy (Item 13); and Jimmie Carty (Item 14).

    Box 2 Folder 23 Item 1-40

    Photographs- People, circa 1890-1955

    Photographs are primarily unidentified. Those named are "Two Georges - Wives - + old Cow boy at Ray Arizona" (Item 8); "Bill + Betty," "Roy & Doris, me and Ria[?]" (Item 30)

    Box 2 Folder 24 Item 1-18

    Photographs- People, circa 1920-1955

    Photographs are primarily unidentified. Item 12, an image of a woman and man with a vehicle, is identified on recto as "September 1930. Our Home. Akron, N.Y. Our vacation for one week after the park closed Labor Day," and may be of Louis and Elizabeth Selzer. All are prints except for Item 10, which is a negative. Item 18 is of a man and woman on the back of a train with signs "Midnight Choo-Choo" and "Alabama Bound."

    Box 2 Folder 25 Item 1-12

    Photographs- People, circa 1900-1940

    Unidentified portaits


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